What You Need to Know
If you are confused by recent changes in laws concerning child support obligations, you are not alone. You should become familiar with R.5:6-9 with new age determinations that affect child support. This periodical Info Blog is provided to ensure that our clients are fully informed about the latest rulings that may have an impact on your child support obligations.
New Jersey has now joined many other jurisdictions with the passage of R.5:6-9, effective September 1, 2017. This Rule addresses the automatic end to child support obligations based on the age of the dependent.
Keep in mind these ages: 19 and 23. Support after age 23, is called “financial maintenance.”
Also, a note: children who are “emancipated” from their parents’ authority by court order are removed from child support. However, emancipation is just one basis for termination. The new terms stipulate other conditions regarding termination and continuance of child support.
For instance, Rule 5:6-9 provides that without a court order, the obligation to pay child support ends upon the child’s marriage, death, entry into military service, or at age 19. Exceptions to the automatic termination date at age 19 (N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.67-56.75, effective February 1, 2017) are:
- The child is still a high school student;
- The child is attending full time post-secondary school;
- The child is disabled;
- The child is in an out-of-home placement by DCPP (Department of Child Protection and Permanency).
Significantly, All child support terminates at age 23. However, financial support can be court-ordered to be paid after age 23. In that instance, it is called “Financial Maintenance.” Financial Maintenance is NOT child support and is not monitored or enforced by Probation. By way of example, a young adult who has reached the age of 23 may apply for a court order requiring payment of medical coverage or reimbursement. If granted, this order will not be enforced by Probation.
What Happens When the Judgment of Divorce Specifies the End Date of Child Support?
There will be no change. However, child support may not exceed age 23.
Notification by Probation
Probation will provide both parents with written notice of the automatic termination of child support 180 days prior to the child’s 19th birthday. Other future termination dates receive 90 days notice. The Notice will include instructions on how to request administrative continuation of child support. The request form must be returned by the custodial parent to Probation within the timeframe indicated in the notification.
If the custodial parent responds to the Notice, the new prospective child support termination date, not to exceed age 23, must be specified. When there is no response to the notification from Probation, child support will be terminated as of the date indicated in the notification.
In the event the child support is continued to another future date, the parents will once again receive 90 days’ notice prior to the new date established for automatic termination.
In the event the custodial parent fails to respond to a deadline to request continuation of child support, then a motion must be filed seeking an extension to a specific termination date at another age or to seek other financial arrangements for the child.
Custodial Parents Take Note
It is very important that the custodial parent understands that the non-custodial parent may make a motion to terminate child support prior to age 19, if he or she can show good cause for that motion.
Be Aware of the New Court Rule
Counsel and clients must ensure that any Property Settlement Agreement or Court Order address these automatic termination provisions.